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'IS' attacks kill over 70 in Baghdad

The so-called 'Islamic State' has claimed attacks killing over 70 people in Baghdad. Losing its territory elsewhere in Iraq, IS seems to be increasingly targeting civilians in the capital.

Two car bombs and one suicide attack in Baghdad combined claimed more than 70 lives on Tuesday. A suicide bombing in a marketplace in the northern - mainly Shia - Baghdad district of Shaab reportedly killed 41 people and wounded more than 70, while a car bomb in nearby Sadr City left at least 30 dead and 17 wounded. To the south of the capital, a separate car bomb killed six, wounding around 20 more.

IS on Tuesday issued a statement claiming the two attacks.

To the south of the capital, a separate car bomb killed six, wounding around 20 more. No group immediately claimed responsiblity.

This was the third time in several days that the Iraqi capital had been

hit by deadly bombings.

More than 150 people have died in the Iraqi capital in the past week.

The attacks come as Iraq is locked in a political crisis, with parliament resisting attempts to alter the cabinet as part of an anti-corruption drive.

Dispute over Shaab bomber's sex

Interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan said the Shaab bombing had been carried out by a female suicide bomber, although the IS statement claimed the bomber was a man, whom it identified as Abu Khattab al-Iraqi.

The assailant hurled hand grenades and then detonated a suicide belt, the ministry said.

A roadside bomb first exploded outside the concrete walls surrounding the area. A suicide bomber then targeted those who were helping the victims, a police officer said.

Iraqi security forces and people gather at the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 17

Iraqi security forces and people gather at the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Sadr City, Iraq, May 17

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered the arrest of the security official responsible for the Shaab area, his office said.

IS changing deadly focus

IS, a Sunni jihadi group that controls large parts of northern and western Iraq, has frequently targeted Shia Muslims, rejecting their interpretation of Islam. Meanwhile, the militants are also increasingly detonating bombs in civilian areas, as they lose ground on the conventional battlefield north of Baghdad.

IS has claimed a recent series of other attacks in and near Baghdad. On Sunday, for example, it carried out an attack on a natural gas bottling plant just to the north of Baghdad.

The White House strongly condemned the attacks. "This string of attacks by ISIL [another acronym for IS] is the latest reminder of the danger that this group poses to all Iraqis, and the importance of Iraqi leaders from all communities working together against a common enemy," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.

Watch video 04:11

Mosul – on the front line against IS

jbh/msh (Reuters, AFP)

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